LINCOLN — Aubrey Trail chuckled and Bailey Boswell’s grandmother cried Friday as Trail and Boswell — charged in the slaying of Lincoln store clerk Sydney Loofe — were sentenced to prison for defrauding a Kansas couple out of $400,000.
At one point during Trail’s sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court, he alleged that Loofe was somehow involved in the fraud, which involved a scheme to buy a rare and expensive coin overseas.
Trail, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, claimed that prosecutors were glad to reach a plea deal in the fraud case to “ensure that the role and involvement of Sydney Loofe was never brought to light.”
Trail’s court-appointed attorney, Corey Reiman, had no comment about the allegation. Neither did Ben Murray, a lawyer from Hebron, Nebraska, appointed to represent Trail on murder charges in Saline County.
Murray said he had no idea about Trail’s contention because he has yet to receive all the evidence compiled by investigators in the murder case.
In two separate sentencing hearings Friday, U.S. District Judge John Gerrard gave Boswell, 24, five years in prison and Trail, 51, 10 years in prison. Gerrard ordered Trail to pay $407,782 in restitution to the Hiawatha, Kansas, couple from whom Trail had stolen.
The couple had financed trips to Paris and other expenses over a 2½-year period for Trail, thinking it would lead to the purchase of a rare coin.
For a while after she joined the swindle, Boswell, a former basketball standout from Leon, Iowa, thought the coin actually existed. She was ordered to help Trail pay about $198,000 of the restitution.
The judge said neither Boswell nor Trail had expressed remorse for their actions, and they deserved harsh sentences for ruining the victims’ lives “financially and emotionally.”
Gerrard called Trail a “thief and swindler” whose career, since age 17, has been a series of crimes.
“It’s quite apparent that you have little regard for the law,” the judge said just before giving Trail the maximum possible sentence under federal guidelines.
Trail, who was shackled at the waist and ankles, responded by chuckling.
“I’m facing the death penalty,” he said. “I don’t care what you give me.”
The atmosphere at Boswell’s sentencing hearing Friday morning was more somber.
A woman identified as Boswell’s grandmother wiped away tears after Boswell’s sentence was announced.
As she was led out of the courtroom, Boswell mouthed “I love you” to her grandparents, who were sitting in the courtroom. Her grandmother responded, “I love you, too.”
The grandparents did not respond to questions as they left the courtroom.
Boswell’s court-appointed attorney had asked for a lighter sentence, saying her client had been a good girl and good student from a “solid home” who experienced a life-changing event in college.
“She became lost after that,” said federal public defender Jessica Milburn, who declined to detail the event.
Meanwhile, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Steve Russell argued for more prison time for Boswell than recommended under federal sentencing guidelines. Russell said the scheme went into “hyperdrive” when she joined in. The victims’ retirement savings were wiped out, the prosecutor said.
“They simply lost their lives,” Russell told the judge. “They’re too devastated to show up at these hearings.”
At Trail’s hearing, the prosecutor said Trail had been convicted of crimes 21 times, and that his entire adult life was “committing crimes and taking from people.”
Boswell and Trail face more serious charges in Saline County, Nebraska. They have been charged with first-degree murder and improper disposal of a body in connection with the slaying and dismemberment of Loofe. The 24-year-old disappeared in November after arranging a date with Boswell via the Internet app Tinder.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the pair, who had been living in a rented apartment in Wilber, Nebraska. Trail said the two had made money buying and selling antiques, but court documents claimed that more than once, the antiques were purchased with bad checks.